The great implosion: A look back at the strange history of Women’s Public Strain

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“By the time we got to Victoria, it was Halloween and it was a crazy, sloppy show,” Wallace says. “It put the nail in the coffin.”

Exclaim! magazine ran a detailed, and perhaps unintentionally comical, blow-by-blow account of the Oct. 29, 2010, dust-up at the Lucky Bar in Victoria, B.C. After five songs, the band members had begun quarrelling on stage. This eventually led to blows between the Flegel brothers. Reimer announced on-stage that it was the band’s final show and Wallace proclaimed “My music career is over.” A guitar was smashed. Patrick Flegel reportedly continued to play by himself and had to be coaxed off stage by security.

Flemish Eye released a statement that the band was exhausted and going on hiatus. All subsequent shows were cancelled. All of which makes the story of Public Strain more than a little bittersweet, particularly for its label.

“We saw some quite decent press and were just beginning that long upward process of introducing the band to a new audience and working with pretty difficult material,” Russell says. “It was not exactly easy material to get into, particularly at the time when there wasn’t really an appetite or audience for that. We were going down that road of trying to do that, which I thought would be a long-time thing, when it all imploded. So it was both a story about us being excited about a record, and manufacturing quite a few copies of it, and not seeing it come to fruition because two months later it wasn’t being talked about anymore. The band wasn’t touring. The story was over. It had its impact more as a long-term influence on other artists.”

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